(The Joy project began in January 2014. I grew from this project in many ways. I continue to to capture our family daily and document it here as often as I can.)
I have captured my children with my camera almost daily for as long as I can remember. I love to document the everyday beauty of life. I did a project in November of 2011 and 2012 called 30 days of Thanks. This was a project where I captured a photo a day in search of the blessings in my life. It helped me to slow down, to look around our home daily, and see the many gifts (often over looked) that I am grateful for. I spent the summer and fall reading a few different books about motherhood, gratitude, grace and joy and I have been reflecting on many of the thoughts I read.
For the past few years I have participated in projects collaboratively with other photographers and I plan to continue this in 2014. I have grown so much from these projects and have made some very special friendships. For a long time it has been on my heart that I wanted to do something on my own. I have never done an official 365 project (documenting a photo a day for the entire year), but have been contemplating going in this direction for a while. I take pictures almost daily, but I have never committed to documenting them in a series or formal manner. I wasn't sure if I wanted to commit to a picture every single day, but then I decided that ultimately this would be my project and the rules can be flexible.The intent will be to post a picture or series of pictures daily, but there may be days that it just doesn't happen. The more I started thinking about this idea, the more I knew I wanted a project that I could grow from both as a photographer and as a mother. I wanted it to become more than just taking a picture daily. Additionally, I had this strong desire to do something that would help me to reflect and to grow in Christ.
Recently I read the following from Kay Warren,
"Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation."
These words epitomize the Joy Project .
Right now my daily life encompasses being a stay at home wife and mother to our three children. My role also includes being our children's teacher as we are a homeschooling family. Daily life as a mother definitely has its mountains and valleys. There are days that are long and full of lessons to be taught and learned. There are other days that breeze by with laughter and fun. There are days filled with messes to clean and chaos in abundance. There are days with tears and then there are beautiful smiles. There are hugs, cuddles, and kisses and there are arguments, bruised knees and broken hearts.
This season of life is truly a gift and I believe there is joy to be found daily. I am learning that joy is so much greater and so much more than happiness. I want to live in joy. I want to capture the joy I see in my children on the days that are wonderful and bliss and I want to seek joy on the days that are challenging. I want to find peace through Christ daily in all circumstances. I want to demonstrate His grace to my family and those I am around. I want to give myself grace and remember to seek Him at those moments I feel like I am not enough. I want to let go of worry and live in joy each day.
I hope that through this project I will have something to look back and remember all the beautiful details of these fleeting days. These details sometimes get lost or fuzzy in memory and they are too important to forget. Most of all, I hope that when I look back on this year ahead, I will have been challenged daily and grown through Christ. I pray that I will glorify Him in all I do.
Thank you to the following news publications for featuring the Joy Project in 2014.
Must-see photos: Finding Joy in Motherhood Babycenter.com